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Mindfulness Garden Games
by Joann Calabrese
author of Growing Mindful
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Vegan Pesto with Stinging Nettles

Vegan Pesto with Stinging Nettles*

(Please remember that our grandmothers did not follow strict recipes for things like pesto. Adjust in whatever way you like.)


  • 3-4 cups of fresh nettle leaves, which will blanch down to about ¾ to 1 cup
  • About ¼ cup other fresh greens – dandelion, arugula, parsley
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup almonds or sunflower seeds ( I use these in pesto rather than the traditional pine nuts as they are more economical)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp powdered mustard (gives the pesto a little bite)
  • ¼ cup olive oil to start. Drizzle in a little more as needed
  1. Begin with about 3 – 4 cups loose nettle leaves. Blanch the nettle leaves by placing them in a colander and submerging them in boiling water for 2 minutes. (I discovered my Insta Pot steamer works great for this.)  Then immediately dip them in cold water which stop the leaves from cooking.
  2. Drain the nettles and pat dry.
  3. Place olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and mustard in the food processor and begin to process. Slowly add the greens, nutritional yeast, and almonds or sunflower seeds. Stop and scrape down the sides as needed.
  4. Add more olive oil if needed.

Serve on pasta.

*When harvesting stinging nettles,  (use scissors and  gloves so you don’t get stung). I am not much of a wildcrafter, preferring to grow what I need in my yard. If you are wildcrafting, be sure if is a place without toxic sprays and that  you have permission to harvest plant. Never take more than you need wildcrafting. Check out the wildcrafting checklist created by  the Columbines School of Botanical Studies.

You can purchase stinging nettle seeds at Mountain Rose Herbs.

      Stinging Nettles